A UK-based academic and Khmer Rouge expert believes he has uncovered the location
of a mass grave believed to contain the remains of more than 800 senior Khmer Republic
officials executed after the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in April, 1975.
Steve Heder, who works at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University
of London, said he had come across a document that located the grave outside Phnom
Penh. Among the Khmer Republic officials believed buried there are Long Boret, Lon
Non, Hang Thun Hak and Chheum Chhuon. Lon Non was the brother of 1970 coup leader,
Lon Nol, and head of the secret police. Long Boret served as prime minister and Hang
Thun Hak deputy prime minister. Chheum Chhuon was at one stage head of the police.
"According to Koy Thuon's 'confessions', North Zone forces who had entered Phnom
Penh were instructed by the Party to execute 'all traitors' in the capital. A team
to do this was formed comprising North Zone cadre Euan, Nhaem, Mol and Man, and they
executed more than 800 senior Khmer Republic officers and officials," Heder
told the Post.
Koy Thuon was held at Phnom Penh's notorious S-21 prison before being executed in
1977. Thuon was at one stage the commander of Ke Pauk, who was named earlier this
year in a report by Heder and international lawyer Brian Tittemore as one of the
seven candidates liable for prosecution for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge.
Heder said that a document held by CPP historian Chey Sophon showed that two of the
North Zone cadre, Nhaem and Mol, had written a report stating where the Republic
officials were buried.
"In [it] they said the bodies of those executed were buried in mass graves west
of Prek Phnov, along the second trail leading to Pochentong, half a kilometer from
Route 5, on both sides of the road."
Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said DC-Cam
would investigate the claim.
"I think this information is very new," he said, "but we have to know
the village name - Prek Phnov is very big." He said that once DC-Cam had determined
the precise site, he would visit the area and see what could be found.
All four Khmer Rouge cadre involved in the executions of senior Republic officials
were purged by early 1977.